DUNEDIN — The Dunedin Scottish Arts Foundation will host the annual Dunedin Celtic Music & Craft Beer Festival Saturday, Nov. 23, noon to 10 p.m., at Highlander Park, 1920 Pinehurst Road, Dunedin.
General admission is $15 in advance and $20 at the gate. VIP tickets are $100. Visit dunedincelticmusicfestival.com. Gates will open at 11 a.m. and the music will get underway at noon.
The crisp Florida fall weather will provide the perfect backdrop for this annual celebration of traditional and contemporary Celtic music and local and national craft beer. According to event organizers, this year’s festival will take the craft beer component to a new level with a Craft Brew Village featuring more than 50 craft beers and ciders from around the Tampa Bay area. Admission to the Craft Brew Village is an additional $20 with paid admission. Visitors will have access to 4-ounce samples for four hours, from 1 to 5 p.m.
The event also will include a cornhole tournament with cash prizes, a game area featuring “life-size Jenga” and beer pong, and a hosted Irish whiskey tasting.
The featured headliner this year will be the Canadian group Leahy.
The progressive folk-roots band arrived on the music scene in the late 1990s with their chart-topping instrumental single “Call to Dance.” The song introduced audiences to their distinctive sound, featuring a strong stride piano, unique bass lines and a contemporary drumming style along with driving rhythm guitar.
The Leahy siblings grew up on a farm near Lakefield, Ontario, Canada. The family has deep roots in North America, going back to their ancestor Michael Leahy who arrived immigrated in 1825 from Ireland and brought with him a rich musical tradition that has passed down through the generations. According to the band’s website, each of the Leahy children learned to play the fiddle from their father, while their mother — who was raised in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia — taught them to sing, dance, and play the piano.
In the mid 1990s, the band struck a deal with Virgin Records that led to their 1997 eponymous album, “Leahy.” The album reached No. 4 on the Billboard world music chart. Along the way, the group snared three Canadian Juno Awards, for Best Instrumental Group and Best New Group in 1997, and took home the Best Country Group or Duo trophy the following year. Commemorating the band’s hometown, 2001’s “Lakefield” was Leahy’s second release, followed up in 2004 by “In All Things.”
To date, Leahy has sold more than half a million albums worldwide. They have been featured in three PBS television.
Following is a look at the tentative performance schedule for the festival’s main stage:
- Seven Nations — noon to 2 p.m.
- Bad Haggis — 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.
- Off Kilter — 5:15 to 6:45 p.m.
- City of Dunedin Pipe Band — 6:45 to 7:15 p.m.
- Leahy — 7:15 to 9 p.m.
The pavilion stage will feature performances by the Dunedin High School and Dunedin Middle School bands.
Seven Nations is known for a passionate, tender and rollicking style that encompasses everything from roots and traditional folk to dance and fusion-rock. The band is also famous for a relentless touring schedule, sometimes spending more than 300 days a year on the road.
Touring full-time since 1994, Seven Nations has performed in Europe, Canada, Puerto Rico, and virtually every state in the United States. They performed an entire show with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra at the Dublin Irish Festival as well as performing at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, a New Year’s Eve concert at Scotland’s Royal Mile and at the New York City Marathon.
The band’s most recent album, “Tales from the Eighth Nation,” was released in April 2014.
Off Kilter – the high-energy, progressive Celtic band that became a staple at Walt Disney World – blends many hard-driving musical styles, bringing a new twist to Celtic music.
For 18 years, Off Kilter performed regularly at Epcot’s Canadian Pavilion, harvesting a loyal fan base with their grab-bag of “rocked-up” traditional Celtic tunes, familiar rock and roll with a Celtic twist and original material that incorporates the sound of bagpipes.
The band was formed in 1997. Members include Jamie Holton, piper and vocalist; Mark Weldon, bass player and singer; Scott Zymowski, drummer; Randy Holbrook, lead guitar; and Jason Thomas, fiddle.
Bad Haggis fuses cutting-edge Celtic with influences of rock, alternative, jazz, pop, world beat, African and Latin influences. Driven by the dual leads of the bagpipe and guitar by Eric Rigler and guitarist Mike Hoffmann, and punctuated by the rhythms laid down by bassist/vocalist Mick Linden and drummer Bryon Holley, Bad Haggis delivers a unique sonic experience.
The Dunedin Celtic Music & Craft Beer Festival is not a pet-friendly event. Blankets and chairs are recommended. Coolers, tents and food are not permitted. The event schedule is subject to change. For details, visit dunedincelticmusicfestival.com.